The clothing industry is the business of packaging design (the packaging of people), but lululemon has taken it to another level.

If you’re part of the lululemon tribe, this storefront speaks to you: It preaches to you what the culture is, and you feel a sense of solidarity. It implies that everyone inside accepts these definitions (really, a manifesto), and that if you agree with them, you belong. Otherwise, you’re an outsider. It works as a kind of filter, or gatekeeper.

lululemonstorefront

But it also does something more subtle: As soon as you step through the glass doors, even if you’re not wearing any of their clothes, you’re packaged by lululemon—the store itself contains you and applies this label (which is not entirely unlike those long, transparent size stickers you can find on pants). Just by being in the store, you become part of what yoga means. You become part of the lululemon culture, and others on the street can see that. As importantly, you subconsciously know that others can see where you belong and what that means.

Yoga tends to be associated with balance, flexibility, and stability, but this arrangement is rigidly aligned to the left, and the square block perches at eye-level in the middle of the list, rather than resting stably closer to the ground. Yet, with the manifesto placed to the left of a few manly mannequins, the overall effect becomes balanced, and the ragged edge of the text provides a spine-like pattern that frames the display. The sense of balance and stability is reinforced by the left edge alignment with the left edge of the store logotype; the shapes anchor each other firmly.

What does this label say to you? When might storefront design not work as packaging for those inside?